Johnson Property Group battles public perception of its helipad plan

QUESTIONS: A helicopter approaches the site of the planned Trinity Point marina during acoustic testing for the proposed helipad. Picture: David Stewart
QUESTIONS: A helicopter approaches the site of the planned Trinity Point marina during acoustic testing for the proposed helipad. Picture: David Stewart

JOHNSON Property Group fears misinformation about its proposed helipad at Trinity Point has unfairly tainted the public’s perception of the plan.

JPG says some residents have got the wrong idea about everything from the planned number of helicopter flights at the marina, to allegations of flawed methodology used during the acoustic testing of helicopters at the Morisset Park site.

And that is a problem for JPG because the proposal went on public exhibition this week for community consultation.

The developer has applied to the NSW Department of Planning and Environment to modify its approved concept plan of 2009 to include a helipad.

The approved Trinity Point Marina and Mixed Use Concept Plan comprises a 188-berth marina, restaurant, café and outdoor dining, function centre, 65-room hotel, up to 250 tourist and residential apartments, and a range of recreational and commercial facilities.

But the helipad is proving a hard sell.

Residents have raised concerns about noise, flight frequency, public access, safety, pollution, effects on wildlife, and insufficient economic argument to justify the helipad’s impact on the community.

Residents have also voiced their frustration at what they consider to be JPG’s habit of changing and adding to the plans for Trinity Point.

JPG acknowledges the concerns - and must address them as part of the assessment process - but says there is a divide between the perceived impacts and the technical impacts.

“These concerns are important and JPG takes thoughts and feedback from local residents very seriously,” JPG’s planning director Bryan Garland said.

“As the developers, it is our responsibility to ensure that people have sufficient and accurate information and we have been striving to this end at all stages of the approval process.”

So here’s what we know:

The proposed helipad would be connected to an approved marina and include:

  • a 20m x 20m helipad pontoon with a 30-metre wide managed safety zone (during helicopter landing and take-off only);
  • maximum of eight movements per day (4 landings and 4 departures);
  • maximum of 38 movements per week (19 landings and 19 departures);
  • operating hours from 8am Monday to Saturday, and 9am Sunday and public holidays, till sunset (time seasonally variable), with no night time use; and
  • no refuelling or maintenance facilities.

Mr Garland said one common misconception was that JPG planned to have 40 helicopter movements a day.

“We believe that this might have come from misinterpretation of the preliminary noise findings that we included on a display board at a community open day earlier this year,” he said.

SWISH: An artist's impression of the lakeside development. Artwork: Supplied

SWISH: An artist's impression of the lakeside development. Artwork: Supplied

Some residents have also questioned the legitimacy of the methodology used during acoustic testing of a helicopter on site in March. They’ve said the wrong helicopter was used, and it did not take off or land at full thrust.

Mr Garland said: “The acoustic testing for the helipad was undertaken based on the most common helicopter likely to use the helipad”. The helipad would be suitable for use by small turbine engine helicopters and occasionally by medium sized twin engine helicopters. He said JPG deliberately chose not to use the quietest or least intrusive helicopter during the testing.

“To be clear, the helicopter survey is only one part of the acoustic assessment methodology, and is used to inform the noise assessment. The overall noise assessment includes use of an accepted ‘weighting’ method to provide assessment for all helicopter types that might use the helipad, not just the helicopter used for the survey.”

  • JPG has launched the website trinitypoint.com.au/helipad, and will host an information session at Bonnells Bay Youth and Community Centre on Monday, December 5, from 3pm to 6.30pm.

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